Catégories : Altruistic capital
Tags: Altruistic capital, altruistic-action, Speechi.
On September 1st, 2009 Speechi became the first company to adopt the “Altruistic Capital” business model: 10% of its capital now belongs to the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), Eugène Rutagarama’s NGO. Eugène was awarded the Goldman Prize in 2001 and IGCP leads an outstanding conservation work of the very few last mountain gorillas in Rwanda. IGCP is now one of Speechi’s shareholders. It will from now on get 10% of all of our yearly profits. If Speechi were ever to be sold, IGCP would get a 10% cut of the deal.
Altruistic Capital is a donation in shares. Its goal is to assist public interest causes by giving them access to the substantial financial resources of private companies’ capital.
This preface is first and foremost a call to entrepreneurs. If there is one thing Eugène Rutagarama has shown in his life – the one thing I derived from our chats – it’s that every one of us can make a difference.
Entrepreneurs face a constant struggle in today’s economy, they are overwhelmed by daily tasks to the point that it’s almost impossible for them to act sustainably or altruistically over the long term. They can now very easily achieve this goal by embracing the Altruistic Capital model.
Altruistic Capital can be adopted by any company regardless of its area of activity. Each entrepreneur is free to select his non-profit organization and to decide what percentage of its capital should be donated. The NGO’s goal doesn’t have to be related to the company’s activity. The company’s profitability as well as the financial resources available to the entrepreneur are not hindered by such a donation. The company retains all of its performance and competitive edge and can even gain from the positive impact the donation may have on its public image.
In fact the more the company grows and develops, the more it contributes to its cause, one of its shareholders.
The main point here is for non-profit organizations to gain access to equity-based resources comparable to those of private companies, enabling them to act with comparable forces. Way too often do humanitarian efforts come to a screeching halt when Economic Interests take over.
Why the gorillas ? Much as for the White Whale, the Old Man’s fish, they stand for humanity itself. Most of Eugène Rutagarama’s preservation quest started after he escaped the Rwandan Genocide where his family was slaughtered.
Gorillas are also a personal and emotional choice. They inspire me, I’d like for my children to be able to see them someday – or at the very least know they exist somewhere outside of a zoo. Somehow it’s a choice from the heart – based on feelings I would have a hard time justifying rationally to anyone accusing me of excessive mushiness. This said, materialism – the holy grail of the past century – has caused millions of deaths. And we can now see the so called economic “logic” endangering the entire planet.
It’s time to give feelings a try.